Is the Lloyds share price as good as it looks on paper?

The Lloyds share price looks cheap as chips. But is this really the case? This Fool reckons so. Here, he explains why he’s bullish.

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On the surface, the Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) share price looks like one of the best investment opportunities the FTSE 100 has to offer.

As I write, investors can buy a share in the renowned bank for just 55.7p. That seems too good to be true. But is it?

A rising share price

So I want to find out if Lloyds is good value for money. One thing I know for sure is that it isn’t as cheap now as it has been.

That’s because its share price has soared. Year to date, it’s up 15.9%. In the last 12 months, it’s outshone the Footsie and risen 24.4%.

I’ve been a Lloyds shareholder for a while. Like many other investors, I’ve watched it sit still for far too long, patiently waiting for it to make a move. That was always what I found rather annoying with the stock.

Finally, it seems we could be witnessing it gain some momentum. That said, I must remember the stock’s still down 3.4% over the last five years.

Valuation

But even with Lloyds gaining pace, I still think its share price is the bargain it looks on paper.

Trading on just 7.4 times earnings, the stock looks dirt cheap. That’s some way off the Footsie average of 11. For a business of Lloyds’ stature, I reckon that could be a bargain. By 2026, that figure is forecast to fall to just above six.

Looking at its price-to-book ratio, Lloyds also seems undervalued. At 0.7, that’s below 1, which is the benchmark for fair value.

Domestic focus

One of the biggest issues I see with Lloyds is the fact it generates all its revenues from the UK. Unlike some of its international peers, this makes it more prone to a downturn in the domestic economy.

The UK’s struggled for growth in recent times. And with a general election looming, as well as uncertainty surrounding interest rate cuts, that could see Lloyds’ performance suffer.

Investor sentiment

Lower rates will squeeze the firm’s net interest margins. And while I largely suspect that any near future rate cut is priced in already, I’m hoping that in the medium-to-long-term falling rates and the boost they should provide to investor sentiment will reflect onto the stock.

There’s also its dividend yield to take into consideration. At 5%, covered over two times by earnings, that’s attractive. Its dividend is forecast to rise to 5.2% in 2024 and 5.8% in 2025.

Turning a corner?

I’m optimistic the momentum we’ve seen the stock gain over the past few months could be the start of what’s to come. I’m expecting some more bumps along the way, but even if Lloyds produces more volatility this year and next, I’m content with that.

Lloyds is a staple in my portfolio. If I have the cash this month, I’ll be adding to my position. For investors who are in it for the long run, I think Lloyds is a stock to consider buying. I reckon it’s one of the Footsie’s best bargains.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Charlie Keough has positions in Lloyds Banking Group Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group Plc. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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